Mediation is a confidential way to find a solution to a problem between people. A trained person who doesn't take sides (the mediator) meets with the people who are experiencing the conflict, and helps them to talk about how the conflict has affected them, hear each others' points of view, clarify the issues, identify common interests, generate resolution options, design a collaborative strategy that will resolve the problem, and articulate the steps they will take to implement their agreement. Mediation is particularly well suited for concrete disputes between two or three people, and focuses on producing a clear plan for resolving the problem.
Who comes to a mediation session?
The intention of mediation is to give people who are involved in a dispute an opportunity to meet face-to-face in a safe and structured setting, to gain a greater understanding of one another's positions, and to develop an agreement for how to resolve the problem and move forward. Therefore, the primary disputing persons in mediation are asked to speak and negotiate for themselves. On occasion, these people may wish to bring others for support, advice, or decision-making authority. These additional individuals will only be allowed in the mediation session if all of the primary disputing persons agree to their participation.
Are mediated agreements enforceable?
Mediated agreements between supervisors and their subordinates-that do not violate University policy, State or Federal law, or any relevant collective bargaining agreement-will be considered binding. Therefore, it is important that supervisors who come to the table have the authority to enter into a settlement, or have access to such authority during the mediated session if necessary, and that all parties make a good faith effort to uphold their agreements.